“May you go forward securely, joyfully, and swiftly, on the path of prudent happiness.”
—Second Letter to Agnes of Prague
When Clare left her home to join Francis and his brothers, her family immediately sought to bring her back, even using force to try to do so. But Clare held tight to both the altar and her conviction as they tried to drag her away. She knew that this was the life she wished to lead and was willing to resist any attempts to prevent it. This was the path that would bring her happiness.
Clare’s actions should make us think: What in our own lives are we willing to hold fast to, even when it is difficult, or we face challenges in doing so?
Gaze | Consider | Contemplate | Imitate
The brothers were no longer limited to Assisi as a field of action. In fact, they were traveling to many cities to offer the good news that had drawn them away from the follies of avarice and armed vendettas. As their message transfixed crowds in town after town, numbers of young men sought to join them. Women were no less inspired. For some women, the choice of a life dedicated to works of mercy and prayer in small households was already a possibility.
Such households existed in many towns and were made up of widows and other women dedicated to chastity or virginity. Such households might enjoy the patronage of powerful families or of a commune as a whole. This patronage would be gladly offered in exchange for the social help for the sick, pilgrims, or beggars provided by these dedicated ladies.
How such women acquired and maintained their knowledge of the Gospels, of church teachings, would depend upon local bishops or monasteries. As the friars exerted their evangelical influence wherever they went, women, especially those already seeking an authentic life of Christian discipline, became part of the growing movement. The “new springtime” of reform and revitalization that Francis inspired needed to give these women a place. —from Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare
May your determination in the face of extreme challenges
serve as a shining example for us to remain strong
in our convictions, even when we encounter resistance.